Mid-Oct, a horde of over a dozen jiujiteiros descended on the annual camp at the
JJM HQ where Cha, our brown belt world champion, was promoted to black belt. We
trained together regularly and she often caught me in a crucifix or an armbar.
She was about 5 feet tall and weighed probably 100 lbs. A great inspiration!
Another promotion in our sister gym in Texas caught my eye. Our head coach Eric
"Al is 58 years old. He trains consistently 3-4 times a week. Al rolls with
everyone. Al is a lifelong martial artist with black belts in other arts.
But most importantly, Al is a lifelong learner. Bottom line is, I ran out of
reasons not to promote Al. I believe Al has been a Jiu Jitsu blue belt for
an astonishing 10 years. Well he is a blue belt no more. Congratulations Al
Rivas on your longtime coming and well deserved purple belt."
3-4 times a week and 10 years blue belt? It was hard to imagine. The purple belt
is the hardest belt to get, but still. On the other hand, it might be a blessing
in disguise. I know I don't want to be promoted when I don't feel ready.
Compared with a championship or a blackbelt, a long healthy journey is what I
set out for. 10 years of rolling without major injuries would be priceless!
A purple belt, Joe, joined us. He looked Asian, young, about my height, and
slightly bulkier. Of course, I couldn't submit him and he could submit me if he
wanted to but never did. He never used much force and rolling with him felt
gentle and relaxed. Amazing.
My comment "I don't want your Jiu-jitsu. I want your six-pack." to Jon, the
30-ish blackbelt, led to a disclosure of his diet. He was a pescatarian, he told
me, ate lots of fruit, and procured fish from WholeFoods. He lifted weight. He
fasted from supper to after the next noon's workout.
My habits look quite similar. I do the same fasting. But I eat meat and am not
as strict as before on sugar and carbs. People like Jon are the friends that
uplift. It's time to renew my old passion on diet.
Ed started teaching the fundamentals twice a week. It was meant for white belts
but I showed up on Friday and enjoyed learning the details.
A lot of things are happening in people's private lives. On facebook, Pablo
posted his insane working hours and seemed to have been going through a rough
patch. But no one commented.
Nobody asked why I have come by bike these days. Chris warned me not to
'catwalk' with it. Some asked about my front tooth (the denture expired) but
mostly we just come together on the mat and train.
I found I could do a full lotus sit comfortably this month. What a delight! And
I showed it off any time we sit and watch technique demos. I believe the quiet
progress was made when I was sitting half-lotus on the chair in my room, reading
and writing for hours a day, since 2020.
Oct 19 on my way back from training, I couldn't brake in time and fell off the
bike while making a right turn to ride through an apartment complex. It was not
a big deal but the scrapes on the right elbow and knee took 10 days to heal. As
I didn't want to risk breaking the scabs, I stayed off the mat the whole time.